The Signalman and Social Manipulation

Topics: Charles Dickens, The Signal-Man, Fiction Pages: 2 (505 words) Published: June 24, 2013
The Signalman and Social Manipulation

Social manipulation occurs both accidently and intentionally everyday in every society – it can happen to cause a slight change in someone’s life or to turn one’s life into the different angle forever. This issue appears in a short story by Charles Dickens “The Signalman” as social manipulation plays a great role in leading the protagonist to his death.

The process of social peer pressure brought about by the narrator slowly manipulates the signalman to distort his own vision and belief as he starts to believe the way mainstream do. When the signalman tells his story about his first encounter with a ghost, the narrator, considering the signalman’s story a nonsense one, tells the signalman that “the figure must be a deception of his sense of sight”. He also points out that such figures often trouble “patients”. His statement not only indicates the way he groups the kind of men like the signalman as patients but also indirectly leads the signalman to raise question whether his experience is real. As the signalman continues his story by explaining that the accident does take place only a few hours after his confrontation with a ghost, the narrator emphasizes his standpoint by suggesting the signalman that “men of common sense did not allow much of coincidences in making the ordinary calculations of life.” This suggestion distinguishes the line between “a man of common sense” like the narrator himself with “a troubled man” like the signalman very crucially. As the signalman finishes his story, the narrator departs his box by leaving his kind offer to take the signalman to “the wisest medical practitioner” which highlights the distinct line between the narrator and the signalman. The signalman eventually gets killed instantaneously by the train because he decides to ignore the reoccurrence of the warning voice of Tom, the driver in that it resembles the ghost’s voice for he starts to believe that such voices are not real....
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